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Ex-hardcore Charcoal Burner In Positive Landscape Restoration In Zomba

ZOMBA, Malawi 29th June, 2022 (AEJ) – African forestry experts attending the sixth AFR100 platform in Blantyre, Malawi today took time off and braved the cold weather to appreciate landscape restoration intervention some 80 kilometers away in the eastern region district of Zomba.

The first stop was at Minama Catchment Conservation where various interventions such as beekeeping, tree nurseries and gravity feed irrigation are currently being implemented by community members with support from TRANSFORM, a United Nations Development Programme bridging project after the phase out of ADAPT PLAN three years.

Minama Village Natural Resources Committee Block Chairperson Yayileka Jackson, a former hard core charcoal burner said it all began with a call from their Group Village Headman. The next thing is that they called for elections to select office bearers to run the committee representing the villages.

Jackson is now preaching the crusade on landscape restoration at Mwinama

“I happened to be the one that was voted unanimously during the elections. As such, I used my previous experience as a former charcoal burner to help community enforcement and expelled all encroachers and charcoal burners from the forest reserve,” explained Jackson to the participants.

No wonder, there is now farmer managed natural regeneration taking place in this area which is being managed by the community in the area, he said. The area’s Traditional Authority Senior Chief Malemia urged for more continued capacity to empower villagers so that they are food sufficient even in the face of climate change uncertainties.

“This will slowly change them from engaging in activities that degrade the environment and option for sustainable livelihoods interventions,” said the local leader.

African delegates captured on the foot of Zomba Mountain

Communities around Minama are not only managing their own landscape but they are also ensuring Lake Chilwa, a wetland of international importance under the Ramsar Convention that supports humanity including biodiversity such as water fowl continues to provide ecosystems services in a sustainable manner.

Mwinama block manages 2084 hectares in three Extension Planning Areas namely part of Likangala, Msondole and Malosa the upper catchment of the Lake Chilwa.

Environment District Officer for Zomba Sylvia Ambali was on cloud nine after the visit. “I am so excited that we have showcased our contribution towards landscape restoration through Transform project and the opportunity accorded us to learn from different practitioners across Africa,” This is a bridging project after ADPAT PLAN a project that phased out three years ago. We are expecting to secure support from Global Environment Facility under the same name Transform, explained Ambali in a separated after the visit.

Minama initiative is a Zomba Mountain catchment conservation-based initiative that is restoring landscapes both within the community and the mountain through natural regeneration and tree planting. This also has a bearing on Lake Chilwa ecosystem scores of kilometers away, a wetland of international importance under the Ramasr Convention supports thousands of livelihoods through economies of agglomeration.

Lake Chilwa which frequently dries up now how promising waters
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Charles Mkoka
Charles Mkoka is one of AEJ News Editorial Production Crew

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